Over 20m people may need humanitarian assistance in East Africa in 2022


By Andrew SK Kaggwa – NECJOGHA

A famine early warning organisation has predicted that over 20 million people in East Africa may need humanitarian assistance due to conflict and drought.

“Over 20 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya alone face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes due to conflict and drought. A third consecutive poor rainfall season in late 2021 has led to significant crop and livestock losses across rural areas of southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, Somalia, and eastern and northern Kenya, and a fourth below-average rainfall season is expected in March-May 2022,” reads a statement from the Famine Early Warning Network (FEWSNET).

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries.

Very high humanitarian assistance needs are likely to persist in East Africa in 2022

The statement further adds that large-scale displacement, which significantly disrupts household access to food and income, is one indicator of the far-reaching impacts of conflict on food security and coping capacity. 

“About 4.2 million people are displaced in Ethiopia, with over half displaced by conflict in Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions since November 2020. In Sudan, inter-communal conflict in Darfur and South Kordofan displaced an estimated 188,500 people in late 2021, with most fleeing before the harvest. An upsurge in conflict in Marib and Al Hudaydah governorates in Yemen has also displaced 70,000 people since September. In South Sudan, where the displaced population numbers over 2.0 million people, the 2021 floods further contributed to total displacement,” the statement says.

FEWSNET attributes other causes of the impending food shortage to high food, fuel, and water prices.

“Sudan and Ethiopia are witnessing the steepest increases, with staple cereal prices rising three to fivefold above typical levels in several monitored markets in December. Rising cereal prices and declining livestock prices have led to sharp declines in the terms of trade in Somalia’s southern regions and Kenya’s pastoral areas, where the amount of cereal that could be purchased with the sale of a goat dropped 10-40 percent below the December five-year average and by over 80 percent in Buaale, Somalia. Uganda has also seen atypical price increases as of late, with sorghum grain and maize prices jumping 10 to 55 percent above the five-year average November,” reads the statement.

It concludes that while recent conflict and drought are major factors, macroeconomic challenges, eroded international budgetary support, and rising global food prices portend household food access challenges will persist across East Africa throughout 2022.


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